Thursday, December 29, 2011

A Hunt to Remember


“Megan – this is Dan P. Holler back at me. Courtney’s at work.”

His words filled the space between my ears with eager anticipation, knowing that this was the call I’d anxiously been awaiting for several weeks. A couple so darling and real that “live in sin,” make important decisions together, support each other unconditionally and cause one another to laugh gut wrenchingly? Yah – commitment was in their future. Either that or it was some totally inappropriate offer or something…you never know with that guy…(kidding Dan, my one of five male readers – gah bless you!).

My fingers fumbled over the call list as I tried to control my words when he answered, not wanting yet to assume our conversation would focus on blings and things, but as his deep voice came across the line, he immediately went for it: “I’m going to propose to Courtney on December 17 and I was curious if you want to be a part of it.”

Um – YAH.

And then I made him tell me about the ring of course. I may have even interrupted him, I’m not sure, but come on, we’re talking DIAMONDS here. And LURVE! What could be better? Side note: I’m STILL in trouble with the hubs for pulling the ring out in advance of the proposal and admiring it and placing it near my finger. Bad luck? Please-I’m the one Dan should be cursing for helping her pick out the sparkler that she now adores. This is business, people…

Cruising through my questions with ease and dodging between my squeals, he laid out his plan: 23 stops for their 23 months together, in all their memorable spots city-wide, a complete surprise and filled with all the people she loved the most.

Pretty perfect, huh?

And perfect it was, driving her to work as usual on a cool December morning before anyone should be up (he does it every other weekend -how cute is that?!), letting her duck out of the car in her scrubs, only to call her back in, hand her an envelope and alert her she’s now on a surprise holiday scavenger hunt. Totally digging this, he caught her on tape and even threw out a little video on Facebook of her “geeking out” as they shared breakfast together and she opened more clues, attempting to read his writing and sharing her innermost love for McDonalds breakfast. Thank gah for social media. It was like tracking on the Santacam…but for engagement scavenger hunts!

After some coffee and deliciousness, Courtney’s crew of besties gathered in one car, traipsing about town to old apartment houses, retailers, the mall (no surprise she was sent to look for the blogger, aka me, and she automatically went to Nordstrom), then finally arrived at our house, stop number eight.

In they trotted one by one, generating excitement in their every step and Courtney radiating from all the fun that had been occurring in just the past four hours. Uncertain to how much she had caught on by now, I asked her a few questions, embraced her one too many times (weddings are the BEST) and took in all the girls’ candid conversation, delighting in the memories and years they had shared together. As the Mimosa glasses were filled and re-filled, she went for envelope number nine, sending the pack off to get manis and pedis.

I know, right? Seriously…the dude thought of everything. He had even been over just hours before around 11 p.m. with the serving dishes of food, champagne and jokester wine he knew would get a reaction out of her.

A few college stories later, shout outs to K-State (yes, it flew this one time) and smiles swapped with the darling girls, they were off for nearly 20 more stops, each one another piece of the puzzle that would lead to her fairytale ending when all the parts fell together at the end.

A billion clues later, a sister now onboard and the five o’clock hour drawing nearer, they arrived at Tellers in Lawrence, an anxious and excited Dan pacing outside as Courtney waffled between the final surprise being an actual engagement or a trip to the basketball game. Minutes later, this photo appeared on the ever-faithful social media site:

Along with pictures of their family and friends crowded in the background, delighting in hearing the word “yes” before it was even asked of her, laughter growing in the room as congratulatory hugs were exchanged and two smiles that screamed: “THIS is what happiness and love look like.”

Congratulations Courtney and Dan. May the love you two felt on this day forever hold true and magical in your hearts. I couldn’t think of a more perfect match than the two of you and am so excited to support and celebrate your journey ahead, all starting with…

A hunt to remember.

Puttin' on the Ritz


"I don't know, it seems to be a bit of a better choice than further wine consumption at this point?" the hubs says, handing over a suspicious looking, yet slightly delectable treat. "Just eat it - you look like you've had a day."

So eat it I did, and you know what? He was right: delicious. Two Ritz crackers slathered with a layer of cream cheese frosting in between=salty and sweet amazingness. Not to mention an inexpensive add to the emotional eating menu that is sometimes mandatory for we women of the world.

Go ahead...put it on the Ritz.

Virtual Hug


..."Give yourself time; let yourself cry; you're doing beautifully; your baby will be OK."

Thank you, Karen Maezen Miller, for always writing back, knowing just what to say, and providing simple, thoughtful words I can tuck into my back pocket during tough drop-offs or grocery store tantrums.

Simply put: you're the best virtual hugger I know.

With gratitude for your calm and wisdom,
Momma Megan

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

My Name's On It

Ever since meeting the one and only Mrs. NEC, I’ve fallen head over heels for monograms, placing them on nearly any item that makes sense, delighting in the soft curves of the fonts, the creativity that goes into it all and the classy way it adds a little something to a thing that was likely already fabulous on its own. This year, I get to add a few to my own personal collection, thanks to the thoughtfulness of my girls:



I mean, how cute is all that?!

Don’t even think about nabbing any of these items… after all, my name’s on it.

PS: The girls ended up loving their solo monogrammed gifts as well:

A customized notepad created on Shutterfly (coupled with a Nells candle holder and Emi-Jay hair tie of course). Yay!

PPSS: On the NY resolution list: learn to rotate pics before loading...please forgive.

Pinterest for the Pine

To the crafty chic who decided shredding a wedding invitation and placing it inside a glass ornament to later adorn a tree was a stellar, thoughtful idea:


Thank you.

You gave me the perfect idea to pass on to my new sis-in-law!

Monday, December 19, 2011

Friday, December 16, 2011

You Get the Idea...

The idea:


The outcome:

So it went from "aren't those darling, those little melting snowmen! The kids will love it!" to "Are those demons? Or a new Disney character gone awry? Where are their noses anyway?"

But I've always heard it's the thought that counts. Right?

Right?!

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

A Bit of Crazy

Actually there's a lot of it going around these days. 'Tis the season. Plus there are those little additional details such as a major company merger, end of year deadlines, planning for next, being the best Mom I can be for my two-year old, plus parties, friends, wifey duties, baking extravaganzas and more. But this little bit of crazy stopped me dead in my tracks:


Hands down the most interesting Christmas present I've ever purchased anyone.

Hey - I'm not here to judge. If you want your goose out front to where clothes, then I'm here to support you.

I went with the rain and snow gear. You know, to prepare the geese for the seasons. Plus, they were all out of sparkly TOMS...

If You Like Shoes...

and Nordys, the Giving Tree is a fun and easy way to give back this season.

Because really, who doesn't love a pair of comfortable, well-fitted soles?

Especially for those souls that really, really need them...

Now I'll sacrifice my Tory Burch flats wish for that!

Monday, December 12, 2011

On the Agenda...

Making these bad boys for holiday party one of five this week:


Do they look like the definition of delicious or what?

Now if only they were reduced calorie...

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Baby Love...and Loot

May we stick on the topic of gifts for a sec?

You'd think with all this posting and ranting about presents that gift giving would be one of my love languages or something, but really it's just that I'm blessed to have really, really amazing people in my life. The kind that no gift, act of kindness or words could illustrate just how much they mean and my immeasurable gratitude for who and what they are, day in and day out. But hey, you gotta try, especially when they start having those kiddos! And those kiddos start having birthdays! Here are some of my favs:

For the expectant Mom:
Pregnancy Journal

Trumpette socks


For the new baby:
Mom's One Line a Day Journal

Uggs (slippers or shoes)

Monogrammed lovey

Hand-stamped jewels

A week's worth of Honeybaked Ham


For the one-year old's milestone birthday:
Personalized book

A favorite toy of your child's when he was that age

Shutterfly picture book after the event

This is just a taste-I could go on forever (Build a Bear, make your own flashcards, etc., etc.) Because really, there's nothing more fun than talking about baby love.

Ok, and their loot.

Five Under Fifteen


With Jolly Ol’ St. Nick coming down the chimney in less than three weeks, it’s likely that many will be frantically creating a list and checking it twice. Either that or combing the malls with dazed and confused, glazed, desperate eyes.

And though I’m purchased, wrapped and ready to gift (don’t hate!), there are always those last-minute surprises or “holy crap I forgot them” moments where it’s necessary to find something fun, inexpensive and on the fly. For these and those such as daycare providers, colleagues, etc., here are a few suggestions:

Emi-Jay hair ties: generally arrive in sets of four, which you can tear open and divide amongst friends, making them about a very reasonably priced gift. Plus, they’re fun, unique and haven’t hit the KC markets yet. Plus, what girl doesn’t love a ponytail? Or at least a fun item to throw on their wrist.

Vera Bradley zip ID case: sassy colors, easy to care for and isn’t everyone waiting to upgrade their coin purse but just can’t get motivated to fork over the dough? Good for all ages too.

Nail Polish: OPI and Essie of course are always a treat, coming in every color under the moon. Plus, it’s fun to choose from their wide selection of unique and meaningful names that strike a chord with your gift receiver.

A little something from Charming Charlies: it’s pretty easy to find a trendy set of earrings, a dangling bracelet, sassy scarf, fun tights and so much more for around 10 bucks. And if you go wrong, they can easily go back and find a crazy selection of other items they can swap it out for.

Gift cards to Target or Starbucks. Because you can always find something there and it’s likely you troll the aisles weekly.

Other items in this category include small candles or holders (hello gorgeous ceramic flower-inspired ones from Nells!), a vintage-looking initial necklace from BP at Nordys, fun jewels and accessories from Forever 21, pens, patterned reusable bags, or a small donation to your receiver’s charity of choice. Of course there are all sorts of darling things you can make as well, but that's likely for some other more qualified blogger to write about...you know, the Etsy type vs. this non-domestic diva. Also, I don't know how to shop for men, so that's why this list is all girl-like.

So if you’re out shopping at 5:15 the day before Christmas Eve for the babysitter that’s coming on New Years…grab one of these five ideas under $15…

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Coming to a Mailbox Near You

Stationery card
View the entire collection of cards.


This year's card...created at 3 a.m., illegible font on the bottom and meant to be funny, stating we hope some of your favorite accessories this year are love, friendship, etc. You know, 'cause he's sporting glasses in the pic? Get it?

Ok, not our greatest work, but you'll take them, won't you? For the holiday spirit?

We're just pumped we actually got them ordered in time, posted and sent through...coming to a mailbox near you. Happy holidays!

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Pony Party!


“Are YOU going to ride a PONY?!” we chimed with the voice most often used for preparing our toddler for the event that lay ahead for him. In this case, we’d been chatting for nearly a week about the happenings of baby Walker’s first birthday party, complete with a western theme, beloved friends, darling d├ęcor, gobs of delicious food and of course…a pony.

“Yah, Lawson ride the horsey. He’s gonna hug him.”

And so we went in with open minds that this pony ride might actually happen, because really, how cool is that? It’s not everyday your little one gets to saddle up in Johnson County. Note: entirely much more possible in the parts where we live. Remember my plot to steal one of those smaller-than-Ellie sized miniature ponies?! So what had started as a quasi-joke from two of our best friends had now become something we’d been anticipating for days…

As the chances of this occurring became more and more scarce (we had to wake him from a nap, his molars were coming in, there was a large crowd of peeps and the wind and cool air had picked up), we watched as the even littler ones grins grew from ear to ear, not knowing completely what was happening, but delighting in the soft mane in their fingertips and odd movement that had now become part of their stance. Party-goers chased the wee ones down with flip and digital cameras, having so much fun one would think they were trotting on the pony themselves. Toys were played with, delicious tea drank, pictures taken of the centerpiece highlighting Walker’s first year and then, just as the nice pony-handler was opting to go…

He went for it:


Round and round he went, squeals of delight escaping from his mouth, followed quickly by the word “Whoa!” and a lopsided sit that required two parental hands on hips. A natural (where do they learn this stuff?), he held tightly to the saddle, letting his skinny little legs bounce against the pony’s sides, sharing grins with the owner as our cheeks began to chap and our hands grew numb. Picture after picture was shot, each of us taking turns to experience the magic that seemed to be emanating from our two-year old in this first-time experience, giggling as he expressed his desire to continue more than the allotted 20 times we’d already journeyed upon. As the sun completely set, we prepared him to say good-bye to his new friends, which was signified with a farewell carrot from a tot’s hand to a soft, furry muzzle. Besides the whole him not choosing to wear his cowboy hat and both his parents being too out of shape to really do that many laps around the yard, it was completely awesome.


The rest of the night was too as we delighted in celebrating a very special boy, whose first year was marked with giggles, muscle flexes, high hands, polar bears, kisses and beyond adorable monogrammed ensems. As his two amazing parents stood by, surrounded with so much love, we indulged in delicious BBQ, watched as he graciously went after his smash cake, laughed as he hung out with his gifts and cherished him as we did everyday from the minute we knew of him.


Walker – you are a remarkable young man and we love you immeasurably. And those crazy parents of yours. Thank you for being such a light in our life.

And for having a pony. In Prairie Village.

Priceless.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

'Twas the Day Before Pre-School


For our little household, tomorrow is a big, big day. And Thursday? Even bigger.

We'll say good-bye to our daycare providers of two years, those that have helped shape, mold and grow our amazing little boy to be the magical creature he is today. Those that held my hand when I left him at just three months old, picture messaged me daily on every business trip,called with every little detail true to my helicopter Mom style, diapered, adored and loved him as if he was their very own. There are no words to show our gratitude for these amazing women who we now call family, so instead we'll leave them with some Vera Bradley, Emi-Jay ties, gift cards and this little ditty:

‘Twas the Day Before Pre-School
'Twas Lawson’s last day, when all through the center,
Not an eye was dry, not even his mentors’;
The coats and hats were hung on the hooks with care,
In hopes that his name tag would remain there;
The children were nestled all snug in their beds,
While visions of recess danced in their heads;
And Chrissy in her sweater, and Lawson in his GAP,
Had just settled down for their afternoon nap,
When out in the classroom there arose such a clatter,
They sprang from the cot to see what was the matter.
Away to the circle they flew like a flash,
Tore open the books and on snacks they did nash.
The crafts on the ceiling and the art in a row,
Gave the lustre of kid magic to objects below,
When, what to my wondering eyes should appear,
But a team of amazing teachers he loves so dear,
With sassy young leaders, so lively and dandy,
I knew in a moment it must be Miss Shannon and Mandy,
More rapid than eagles his caregivers they came,
And he whistled, and shouted, and called them by name;
“Now, Chrissy! now, Goesha! now, Brooke and Brittney!
On, Ebony! on Lisa! on, Stephanie and Mariah!
To the top of the slide! to the bottom of the wall!
Now hug away! hug away! hug away all!"
So around the daycare, the teachers they flew,
With hearts full of joy, patience and graciousness too.
And then, in a twinkling, I saw in my son’s eyes,
The difference each teacher had made, which was no surprise.
As I drew in my head, and was turning around,
Down the hallway his friends came with a bound.
They were dressed in kid gear from head to toe,
And their clothes were all tarnished with something-only-a-toddler-would know;
A bundle of toys they flung front and back,
Looking as happy as ever in their little pack.
Lawson’s eyes -- how they twinkled! his dimples how merry!
His cheeks were like roses, his nose like a cherry!
His droll little mouth was drawn up in a grin,
All because his awesome teachers, his heart they did win;
He had a charming face and a little flat belly,
That shook, when he laughed like a bowlful of jelly.
He was bright and creative, a right jolly old kid,
And I grew overwhelmed with love, no matter what he did.
A wink of his eye and a twist of his head,
Soon gave me to know I had nothing to dread;
He spoke a few words, then went straight to pre-school,
Where he found his new friends and activities to be cool,
And though leaving Canterbury daycare hurt from fingers to toes,
He gave a nod to his classroom and rose;
He hugged Miss Chrissy, to his friends gave a smile
And away he transitioned to pre-school, down the road not a mile
But I heard him exclaim, ere he tottered out of sight,
"What a difference you’ve made – thanks for being my light. I adore you with a full heart and all my might!"


I don't who's going to have it worse these next few days: me or him. All I know is that 'tis two days before pre-school...

Monday, November 28, 2011

The Big Reveal

True to her spirit, her gift of writing and thoughtfulness for others, one of my oldest and dearest friends revealed to her family the gender of her baby #2 in a "gah, wish I would've thought of that!" kind of way:

A high-flying, colorful, magical, squeal inducing moment, indeed.

And a celebration we'll continue today and all the days to come.

Congratulations, Wise family. We love you and are so excited to welcome your baby GIRL!

The Long and Short of It

What gal doesn’t love a list? Especially when she’s required to shop for about 20 of her loved ones, has a smartphone in hand and limited minutes in her life to accomplish all this and more.

That’s why I love that my family has started a trend on Amazon, making their lists and checking it twice, passing along their wishes to be stowed under the tree. With a few clicks through Amazon Wish List, they’ve passed along an image, exact name, price and where to find their favorite items through one simple link, giving the giver the option to grab it in store or nab it online. And it doesn’t even have to be available on Amazon! Sure beats the versions 1-5 SOMEONE keeps bombarding the poor family tree with.

Crap, that’s me.

Speaking of, these are a few of my favorite things:





Champagne taste, beer budget, I know, I know. And this isn't even the half of it (gulp). Think new carpet, a cleaning lady, massage and a sale Marc Jacobs bag in rust! But that's why they call it a "wish" list, right?! Plus, number one on my list is donating to Sunflower House…more to come on that. Or just a happy, healthy smile from my kid...I'll definitely take that.

Whatever your desires for stuff this holiday, make a list, click through it twice and send it along.

That’s the long and short of it…

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Giving Thanks

"Best of all is it to preserve everything in a pure, still heart, and let there be for every pulse a thanksgiving, and for every breath a song." - Konrad von Gesner

"As we express our gratitude, we must never forget that the highest appreciation is not to utter words, but to live by them." ~John Fitzgerald Kennedy

Happy Thanksgiving, dear friends. And thank you for caring, for reading...and just being you.

Cheers to you and yours!

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Perspective


"Who's that, Mommy?" my son asks, his red-rimmed eyes peeking over the edge of the SUV's large window frame, struggling to lift his head from the virus that decided to take over his body Thanksgiving week.

I strained through my blind spot to see what he was observing, determined to answer all of his curious questions in an effort to whet his growing appetite of the world. As the car slows near the red light, I spot a woman teetering in the grass nearby who I may have inappropriately assumed was out of her mind, flailing her hands, talking to herself, not dressed in enough clothing for the cool fall air, a tattered sign dragging in her loose fingers and a small plastic bag dangling out of the other hand. As I struggle to come up with an age-appropriate, PC answer, I hear my son say:

"That's a lady. A nice lady. She's looking for flowers."

There it was: the perfect answer.

What a gift to see the world in this light. May he hold on to that forever. And may we inhale in little bits and pieces of it too.

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Llama Love

Remember that fun story time adventure the MOMS Group went on earlier this month? It was here I fell in love with the Llama Llama books, chock full of invaluable lessons, fun rhymes and bright, cheery pictures for the wee ones:


Right now we're obsessed with the "Llama Llama Misses Mama," perfectly timed for a happenings and emotions that occur at daycare drop off and everything in between. And even more perfect for our pre-school adventure we begin December 1.

Check 'em out - you might even find yourself finding some llama love.